76ers face critical decisions regarding big men and the future

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As it stands right now, the Sixershave three youngcenters in Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Emibiid.

Assuming Embiidhits the floor, healthy as expected, there will be a lot of height on the Philly roster. First overall pick Ben Simmons is 6-foot-10, as is Dario Saric — who many believe will join the squad this year as well.

The NBA is no longer a center-dominated league, like it was in the 1980s, or even during Allen Iverson’s day in the early 2000s. Look across the rosters of NBA-title contenders and you’ll see shooters (Steph Curry), slashers(Russell Westbrook)and point forwards (LeBronJames).But according to the Hall of Fame shooting guard, there still is a place for the big man in today’s NBA.

“The big man role is so important,” Iverson told a few media members Thursday before the NBA draft.”The big man is the guy who does all the dirty work.Obviously the stars are the guards. They get all the shinebut you can’t win a basketball game without a big man. Will it be another Shaquille O’Neal or anything like that?I truly doubt it. But I think the future for us is so promising with Noel, Okafor, Embiid. And then we add our draft picks with other talent they have on the team, the future is bright for the Sixers.”

It is a roster filled with potential and with talent. But can the current roster begin to compete for a playoff spot — as opposed to competing for the top spot in the NBA lottery? Brett Brown thinks a move will be made before the season kicks off this coming fall.

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“I would be surprised, [if we started the season with our current crop of big men],” Brown told CBS3 Philly’s Andrew Porter. “I talk freely always with my players. This is something that in a different world maybe it’s awkward. It isn’t because it’s true, it’s real, it’s part of pro sport. Sometimes for the players too, like they have to understand that maybe it’s best for them, too. And so, all over the place — instead of sort of hiding from this kind of what could be the elephant in the room or an awkward moment — I don’t like doing that. I speak freely with my guys about it.”

The presence of Simmons, who will play as a point forward and likely be the main catalyst for offense on the squad, will fuel whatever moves come next. But the team desperately will need shooters and some veteran presence at both guard and forward.

“It’s just we understand the positional balance of our roster needs to rule the day,” Brown said. “We have to find a balanced team.”

However, if it’s any consolation, the currentbreed of NBA big men — particularly those on the 76ers’ roster — can do a lot more than post up and block shots.

“These big guys can run, they are very agile,” former Sixers great World B. Free said,”they can dribble the ball at 7-feet, they can shoot three-pointers. If you look at Jahlil Okafor last year he was mostly shooting his shots from the foul line area, dribbling and making things happen.”

They might be agile and multifaceted, but there is not much need for three of them, especially if they can yield a return on the trade market. Stay tuned.

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